Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
A strongly homogenizing and hegemonic discourse about Metis in the Canadian Northwest exists today, despite the enormous diversity of people who consider themselves Metis, from Red River to the NWT. Metis scholars commonly talk about Metis as plains buffalo hunters in the 19th C. and road allowance people in the 20th C., yet those were not the experiences of Metis of northern Alberta, whose lifeways and histories went in different directions. This paper focuses on the transformations of a group of Metis from Lac La Biche, who entered into treaty in 1876 but in 1886 withdraw from treaty and applied for Half-breed scrip. In the past, they lived by means of a fur trade mode of production and even today emphasize their close connections to the bush and bush-based activities, which they balance with wage labor. They are ancestral to many of the Metis who moved north into the Treaty 8 region with the railway and are now impacted by oil sands and forestry industry expansion in the Fort McMurray region.